How do you search the silence that muffles family stories when those who knew what happened are gone? Family Treasures tells a riveting story of survival, loss, and love. This documentary and short series is not only a WWII survivor story but a second generation sleuthing adventure to uncover family mysteries.

Screenings at NYU and Miami Jewish Film Festival More in Fall '24

FEATURE DOCUMENTARY: Journalist Karen A. Frenkel channels the driving force of discovery to investigate her parents’ unspoken WWII stories. Her research leads her to astonishing revelations of her family’s incredible journeys through Europe, Cuba, Mexico, and New York, and sheds light on the hidden truths surrounding the tragic losses experienced by several of her family members. Through the act of documenting their histories, these relatives cease to be mere names, but come to life when their stories are fully uncovered. These riveting stories of survival, luck, and loss have the power to captivate viewers of all generations and serve as an inspiration for many to delve into their own family histories.

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Five-Part Series for Education

The series of 5 shorts based on the feature documentary, guides you though Karen's research techniques, WWII history and the origins of antisemitism experienced by her family in Poland. The series with discussion guides is based on the steps in family history research: 1. Oral History 2. Google Anything 3.Sleuthing Archives 4. Value of Visiting 5. Family Tree. It is perfect for secondary schools, temples, churches and museum programs.

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Karen's Sleuthing Background

Between assignments as a technology journalist, I googled my parents’ names. What was I hoping to find? Both were Polish Jews--one a refugee who arrived in the U.S. in 1939 and the other survived the Holocaust as a slave laborer. So much had already been written about the Holocaust. But I had access to my mother's oral history and a massive collection of inherited portraits, photographs, letters from her family’s prosperous Jewish life in Poland before WWII. These treasures inspired me to embark on my family history quest detailed in the documentary and the five-part doc series. I've also written a companion memoir.

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